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China’s Manufacturing Advantage Is Here To Stay

Worker wages in the south are up, but producers only have to move a short distance inland to make massive savings, argues Chinese University Hong Kong professor

By  Maria Ahmed

Sat May 28 2011

BusinessBecause
The 700 million people in China’s rural areas will exert downward pressure on wages in the country for some years yet, argued Professor Chak Wong at last week’s Bloomberg China Conference.

Professor Chak is Finance Practice Professor at Chinese University Hong Kong. He was speaking on a panel titled “Wages, the wealth gap and global manufacturing” alongside legal and business advisory experts based in China.

The panel pointed to moves in recent times to increase the wages of some Chinese factory workers, including those at iPad maker FoxCon and Honda. President Hu Jintao has made closing the wealth gap a major plank of policy over the next five years, and enterprises with foreign investment will be required to have a unionized workforce.

However, argued Professor Chak, growth in manufacturing wages has been below that of average wages. The average wage in China is only just catching up with Thailand and is still half that of Malaysia.

The shortage of workers under the age of 35 is restricted to the coastal industrial belt, he said. Moving a few miles inland would give producers access to untapped pools of cheap labor.

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CUHK's Professor Chak Wong: export industries are highly profitable and expanding in China

The Bloomberg China Conference, sponsored by Chinese University Hong Kong, brought together an impressive group of experts to discuss several topics in relation to China from the property market and hedge funds to global geo-politics and investment. Speakers included historian Niall Ferguson, former UN under-secretary general Lord Malloch Brown, bond investor Brett Diment and Sir Evelyn de Rothschild.

Professor Chak also said that average wages for university graduates were very high in the service sector. While graduates of less prestigious universities didn’t earn as much as their peers at the likes of Tsinghua or Jiao Tong University, they were still doing a lot better than those without a college education.
 

Student Reviews

CUHK MBA

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23/09/2022

Blended

One of a kind

I studied Bioinformatics at CUHK last year. It was the only Master's degree in Hong Kong in this field. This program developed my analytical skills and equipped me to be a Bioinformatician in a very practical way. I enjoyed my year here and met classmates from different parts of the world. If you are thinking to enhance your profile, this degree program would be a good option.

Student

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19/11/2021

On Campus

general education courses, unique college system, large campus

The university facilitates multi-dimension and interdisciplinary learning. In social science faculty, we need to choose courses as our faculty package from other departments (architecture, psychology, sociology, etc.) to learn more than our major required courses. We are also required to finish general education courses, which aid our critical thinking and humanistic sensibilities. I do recommend the social science broad-based program, and the professors I met so far are all responsible and erudite.

Student

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28/10/2017

LLM

The faculty of law is relatively new. You do not need to have a LLB to pursue a LLM, which is special. The taught programme is great for mature students who want to obtain legal knowledge. CUHK has good teaching staff too.

Student

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20/10/2017

Amazing Campus and Great Educational Environment

Not only is CUHK's main campus breathtaking, it provides for a good educational environment for students. The university is well-equipped with modern and up-to-date facilities to help students with their study. We have 8 libraries in total around the campus; one for media, one for architectural studies, the medical library and the law library. The Professors are always helpful and are happy to talk to students when needed. Moreover, the college system within the university brings forth the uniqueness of CUHK. Each student belongs to a different college, and in that students are able to meet different peoples from different countries and students from different faculties. I think CUHK provides for a well-rounded university life for all students.

Student

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17/10/2017

exthrillating

One of the most down to earth places in HK. A great opportunity to learn and embody the local culture. Also had one the most beautiful campus in Hong Kong up on the hillside. Glad to have graduated here.

Student

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5/10/2017

Innovative and Supportive

My university provided me with all the support I needed, and encouraged me to be up to date with all the new developments in the world. They also provided me with the incentive to excel at what I do, and they take much pride in my achievements. I have had a very rewarding university experience.

Student

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2/10/2017

Small, New But Friendly Law School

To being with, I think the campus of CUHK is the best and the biggest in Hong Kong, with fresh air and trees everywhere. I am an undergraduate Law student at CUHK and I think the teaching here is great, with very friendly and nice professors and the new Lee Shau Kee Building. In terms of the courses offered by CUHK, as one of the largest universities in Hong Kong, CUHK is an all-rounded university, offering a wide range of courses to students. Students may take the introductory courses of discipline other than their own major, or even declare a minor. For law electives, due to the small amount of intake, the variety of law electives are not that huge. However, the Faculty is offering some international programmes, which can be treated as law electives, but at the same time, provide us with an opportunity to travel and know more about the legal system of another country. The career support from the Faculty of Law is also amazing. The Faculty will organise CV Sessions and talks on how to get an internship from law firms or mini-pupillage from barrister's chambers. Each student will also have a Distinguished Professional Mentor, which is a current legal profession, providing us with practical advices and updates of the legal field. Finally, from my personal experience, I think the students in CUHK are friendly and genuine. As Law students, competition is inevitable for grades, GPAs, vacation schemes and training contract. However, I think the competition in CUHK Law School is a positive one, in a sense that help us grow together, instead of fighting with each other no matter what. That is the biggest reason why I am having a very good time here in CUHK Law School.

Student

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30/09/2017

A place to explore your interests

As a law graduate from CUHK (both undergrad and post-grad), I realise that I had many opportunities to explore my areas of interests (legal and non-legal both). The faculty/university requires us to take a certain number of non-law electives, and offers a plethora of courses to choose from. Personally, I took 3 modules in Korean --I can't say it's made me highly proficient, but it's definitely given me a good foundation (I can walk into a Korean restaurant and confidently order food, at the very least). The fact that language courses are offered also provides students who are more financially constrained an opportunity to learn a language without having to shell out a premium for a decent language course. On top of that, we have a range of law electives as well. I know of classmates who have developed lasting interest in different areas of law because of the electives they took in school. The two electives that I would say have changed me is (i) mooting and (ii) family law. I think my experience in an international commercial arbitration moot competition has helped tremendously in formulating legal arguments and legal writing. On the other hand, taking a family law elective has made me very interested in the family law practice, especially in terms of child rights. For these experiences which I have gained, I'm grateful for the opportunities provided by the school. One main issue most students I know have is with the way our GPA is calculated and the lack of transparency in terms of how the honours system works. As our GPA is marked on a curve. it's highly unrepresentative of what we have achieved as individuals. Given that our GPA is the only criteria that is looked at when we apply for the compulsory post-graduate law course (mandatory should we want to practise law and/or be trainees in Hong Kong), it will put our own students at a distinct disadvantage when we compete for limited spaces with students from schools where GPA is not on a bell curve.

Student

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27/06/2022

On Campus

Valuable time in CUHK

I like the learning environment and people at CUHK. Surrounded by hills and Tolo Harbour, CUHK provides a balance between nature and hustle. You can always escape from the busy study life and meet your friend around the big campus for different activities.

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